Neil Moffitt’s company’s recent acquisitions include Pure Nightclub.
Angel Management Group CEO Neil Moffitt is the picture of poker-face cool. He leans back in the chair of his Henderson office and calmly plays with a stack of purple chips on his desk as he discusses his company’s game-changing bet on Las Vegas nightlife.
The deal, to acquire rival Pure Management Group, gives AMG control of 21 properties (eight are wholly owned, five they operate and eight more they work with as clients) and moves them into the big leagues with Light Group and its own 17 venues, signaling a major consolidation of power in the nightlife industry.
For a man who just added to a portfolio of clubs that drew between $70 million and $105 million last year (according to Nightclub & Bar Magazine), Moffitt is exceptionally reserved. Maybe that’s because after spending years duking it out in the U.K. in the concert game, he’s seen enough rough-and-tumble to know what to expect.
“My competitors in my previous world were AEGLive and LiveNation,” Moffitt says. “They’re people you need to be nervous about, because they’re powerful, they’re organized, they’re structured and they completely own the marketplace. And regarding Vegas: “There’s more than enough [customers] to go around the city. One nightclub doesn’t create the industry.”
AMG already works with Studio 54 and Tabu at MGM Grand and Rok Vegas at New York-New York, plus the party pool Wet Republic at MGM, and it experienced accelerated growth when it added Moorea Beach Club at Mandalay Bay in late June. That was quickly followed by AMG’s takeover of operations for the Hard Rock Hotel’s Rehab in July.
It was a stunning move for that notorious party, already successful enough under management by the Hard Rock Nightlife Group so as to spawn its own television series on TruTV, but it wasn’t the only deal AMG had up its sleeve.
Since the IRS raid on Pure in February 2008, PMG has been faced with setbacks. Long before the company’s most recent problem, a high-profile lawsuit filed in September by husband-and-wife part-owners Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, Moffitt says he was approached about a takeover.
“We started talking aggressively I would say three months ago,” he says. “We were meeting with a lender group based out of Los Angeles. I have a two-year relationship with those guys. It was natural that they would reach out to me and talk business. They were very proactive in helping get this deal done.”
Around the same time, Moffitt says the Hard Rock came to him with an offer to take over marketing of Vanity. “We assessed the property and the opportunity and felt it was a good move for us. It wasn’t something we pursued. It was an approach made by the Hard Rock. There was a huge synergy between the pool and the club. It made sense to step in there and take over that property. Opportunity seemed to have come our way for whatever reason.”
However, not every property in the PMG portfolio has changed hands. Christian Audigier the Nightclub was the first casualty of negotiations—PMG and Treasure Island came to an agreement that left the club shuttered Sept. 24—but it isn’t the only space that could face major changes as a result of the takeover.
Before the buyout, PMG had already been in internal discussions to overhaul LAX at Luxor, with the possibility of a complete rebranding bandied about. Post-takeover, it’s a spot that Moffitt says AMG is going to take a close look at.
“People will see LAX is a much broader study where we find out where LAX currently sits within the marketplace,” Moffitt says. “We will do whatever we feel is best suited to make that nightclub perform to the standards to which it’s supposed to. I think it falls a little short right now.”
Moffitt sounds impressed with the staff at PMG—a group that held the fort after the departure of key executives since the IRS raid—and doesn’t plan to bring in any of the free-agent industry talent that have become available in recent months.
Even with the newly acquired venues, AMG’s collection is hardly complete. It recently announced plans to unveil the XOXO Supperclub (at a yet unidentified location) on New Year’s Eve. And Moffitt hinted at opportunities nationally and internationally that the company will explore. If his self-effacing narrative holds true, those opportunities will come to Angel on gilded wings.